PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR — JPS Zamboanga City learned a lesson the hard way in Game One of the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup semifinals phase two.
It was not to squander their big lead, especially not in the fourth quarter against a dangerous Petra Cement-Roxas squad.
Zamboanga wounded up losing Game One in overtime, 84-91, Wednesday.
It almost happened again in Game Two and almost caused them to say goodbye to their championship dreams.
But they already know how to respond, resulting in an 84-71 victory, Thursday at the Pagadian City Gymnasium here.
“We’ve learned our lesson,” said JPS head coach Tony Pardo.
Trailing by as much as 14 in the early goings of the fourth period, Roxas chopped its deficit and knotted things up at 71 on a booming triple by Chito Jaime at the 2:14 mark.
But Zamboanga had an answer when things went south.
“I reminded them about last night’s game, and I emphasized na mag focus and play hard defense. That was killing us eh, ‘yung depensa namin,” said Pardo.
JPS retaliated with a game-ending 13-0 surge, to send the series to a do-or-die Game Three today at 5 pm.
Pardo shared that before the match, he issued a challenge to his wards, especially the veterans who he once called “the best ex-pros” in the league.
“I’ve been challenging them na this is it. Where can we find another game to show your strength and being the best?
“I announced to everyone na my veterans are the best eh,” recalled Pardo.
Respond, they did.
Jaypee Belencion, who was held to just three points in Game One, erupted for 16 points, including eight in the fourth frame.
After fouling out early last game, Jerwin Gaco managed his fouls well and finished with 11 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the line, eight rebounds, and four assists.
Also stepping up was Gabby Espinas with 16 points, seven rebounds, and two assists. He also buried a triple that served as the dagger with 29 ticks left, 81-71.
Source: Tiebreaker Times